“This win is special”.
These were the words uttered by Grenada’s most decorated calypsonian, Edson Mitchell known as Ajamu as he was crowned in the wee hours of Monday morning as the new calypso king of the Spice Isle.
Ajamu with seven title victories under his belt won his eighth crown and the first prize of $EC35, 000.00 at the Dimanche Gras show held Sunday night at the National Sports stadium at Queen’s Park, St. George’s.
Known in many quarters as “King Man”, the Mamma Cannes-born artiste has been out of competition for approximately eight years but was able to walk away with the coveted title with his two selections, “When Calypso Was Calypso” and “Tune in they RuKungKuTunTun”.
The new Calypso Monarch, who was last on the list of the Eleven competing artiste got the crowd to sway, dance and sing along to his songs.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the judges decision was announced, Ajamu said that although he held the title before, this win meant so much to him.
“Being away for all these years, it has been seven or eight years and coming back on the scene again, with all the talk that has been in the air – people who thought that I shouldn’t come back – but I want people to know that everything in my heart is good. This is nothing about glory for Ajamu, this is a victory for Calypso in Grenada”, he said.
“… I feel over the past years, Calypso has been going in a different direction and I think that this victory here is going to propel me some more to put it in the right direction. I hope that people will look at what I’m doing and see the goodness in it and support it,” he added.
Findley Jeffrey known in the calypso business as “Scholar” settled for second place with his songs, “Promise Land” and “Asphalt”.
The Chantimelle calypsonian – who won $EC25, 000 for placing second – had shared the numbers of victories prior to the competition with Ajamu on seven each.
According to the new Calypso Monarch, his return to the competition was never about the numbers.
” I never really looked at the numbers because it doesn’t matter to me… I think Scholar is one of the good Calypsonians that we have. I probably will feel a little bit happier if he does more positive things in terms of inspiring the young people but I have a lot of respect for him.
“I think he is a very good Calypsonian, he does stuff that people don’t do normally and you must give him credit for that but I never really looked at the numbers. It doesn’t matter if Scholar wins 20 crowns and I win just seven but if Calypso is heading in the right direction then I can sit down and say, “yes”.
“I am a lover of Calypso and if you remember in 1989 I did a song called, “My Calypso” and I said in that song I am going to chastise you if you treat my Calypso bad, so it still remains the same.
The King Man gave reporters an insight into the rationale behind the second song, “Chune in their Rukutukungkung” which helped to propel him to victory in the end over Scholar and the other singers on the night.
He gave credit to businessman Hugh Dolland of Spice Basket who inspired him to write the song.
” I thought about what Mr. Dolland said and I went home the morning and soon as I put my bag down, I picked up my guitar, went in my living room and I wrote this song”, he said.
“… The idea of people saying all this stuff that they don’t think I should come back, I think it was unfair. I know what’s in my heart, I know my intentions, I know what I plan to do, I know what I would like to do for this country and I thought that it was unfair that people try to (prevent) me from doing that so I had to speak out,” he added.
Ajamu also addressed the claim made by Scholar in his lyrics that the “King Man” had ulterior motives for re-entering the Dimanche Gras competition and was getting his backing from the current New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
” When I listened to Scholar, I think this brother, he is off the rail. This whole thing about Ajamu, he’s missing the concept. Ajamu is not that what you are saying – this whole thing about the government bring me down to give me crown. This was my plan (to come back home), this was my initiative – I sit down with my family and they gave me the green light to come here, he remarked.
Sean Niles (Sour Serpent) who walked away with $20, 000 for the night effort took the third spot with the fourth place going to Jason Joseph know as Big J ($15, 000.00) and followed by Sheldon Douglas, Lloyd Panchoo (Mr. X), Keturah George, Elwin McQuilkin (Black Wizard), Randy Isaac, Germaine Simon (Superstar) and Janice Augustine.
All the other calypsonians received $9000.00 each as appearance fees for making it into the finals.